Aging policy update

The Public Interest Government Relations Office co-hosted a Congressional Briefing on the Institute of Medicine Geriatric Mental Health Workforce Report

By Nida Corry, PhD

APA, in partnership with the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, the National Association of Social Workers and the American Psychiatric Association, hosted a Sept. 19 briefing on Capitol Hill to highlight key findings and policy recommendations from the recently released Institute of Medicine (IOM) report entitled The Mental Health and Substance Use Workforce for Older Adults: In Whose Hands? The panel of speakers included APA member Michael A. Hoge, PhD, IOM Committee member from the Yale School of Medicine; Dan G. Blazer, PhD, MD, IOM Committee chair from Duke University Medical Center and María P. Aranda, PhD, MSW, IOM Committee member from the University of Southern California.

Hoge presented key findings from the IOM report related to the mental health and substance use workforce for older adults. He also presented several important APA recommendations:

  • Increase federal funding for education and training opportunities in geriatrics for psychologists and trainees (e.g., Title VII, Graduate Psychology Education Program).
  • Ensure the integration of psychologists as members of the integrated health care team across settings (e.g., ACA, Positive Aging Act — S. 525).
  • Increase older adults' access to mental health care by enacting Medicare and Medicaid policies that appropriately reimburse psychologists for the provision of mental and behavioral health services.

More information, including a video of the briefing and presentation slides, may be found on the APA Government Relations website and the briefing is also featured in the December issue of the Monitor on Psychology®. APA will continue to facilitate the dissemination and implementation of the IOM policy recommendations to meet the urgent mental health and substance use needs of America's diverse aging population.